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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Orpen Beamish
  • Born 3 May 1841 Drimoleague, Co Cork.
  • Died 22 December 1889 Enniskean, Co Cork
  • Educated Queen's College, Cork
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 31 July 1871 v MCC at College Park
  • Cap Number 140
  • Style Left-hand bat, left arm medium
  • Teams Cork City, Cork County, Bandon

Orpen Beamish came from a long established Co Cork family, best known for its brewing interests. The family was also a benefactor of the arts and architecture in Cork. Several of its members, though not Orpen, were involved in the foundation of the County Club in 1874. Orpen had first come to prominence playing for XXII of Bandon against the touring I Zingari side in 1866. Batting at No 6, he made 10 and 14, the only home batsman to reach double figures in each innings. He also took four second innings wickets, including that of Henry Awkright, who, the following month, was to die in a Mont Blanc avalanche. Three years later Orpen was again to the fore as an all rounder against IZ, this time for Lord Bernard's XVI, again at Bandon on the Castle Bernard Ground. Besides top scoring in the first innings with 20, he took ten wickets in the match, with six in the second innings. He dismissed two well known players on each occasion, both internationals known on a wider field: Charles Filgate friend and team-mate of the Grace brothers and Arthur Smith Barry, MCC batsman and Member of Parliament for Cork City.

Orpen also appeared for Bernard's side against Na Shuler in the 1870s. In 1873, he failed with the bat but had three second innings wickets, including Filgate for 37 top score of a low scoring match, which the Shulers won rather easily after trailing on first innings. In the 1877 match, again won by the visitors, Orpen had the wickets of Leland Hone and his cousin William, the latter, seen a the best batsman in that distinguished family, for 0. Leland was just months away from making his somewhat bizarre solitary Test appearance. Orpen's one match for Ireland was against MCC in College Park in 1871. He was personally successful but the match was a disaster for the hosts. It was part of a cricket week, held in Dublin to raise money for professional cricket in Ireland. Attended, briefly, by the Prince of Wales - he arrived at lunch on the second day as Ireland were crashing to a heavy defeat - it was a very one sided contest. In their miserable first innings, a strong home batting line up was routed by the Nottinghamshire professionals, Alf Shaw and Frank Farrands for 58. Shaw, later a very slow bowler of phenomenal accuracy, then bowled a fast round arm.

Six years later he was to bowl the first ball in Test Cricket. Farrands, another fast round armer, later became a respected umpire standing in eight Tests. When MCC batted Orpen, whose batting had brought him four runs, had the best figures. Bowling 35 four ball overs he took 4-48. It was said at the time that he lost his effectiveness by being kept on too long. His wickets included WH Walrond, an Army officer who had played for Ireland, and was later to become a Government Minister as Baron Waleran. He was first to go, smartly stumped by Tom Casey. Also in Orpen's haul was Shaw. Filgate, this time on the same side as his bowling nemesis, helped with two catches. MCC were dismissed for 170, but, alas, the Irish batting crumbled again. Orpen Beamish was never selected for Ireland again, though he continued for some years to perform consistently in Munster cricket.

He was married to Susan Sarah Holmes; they had seven children.